It could be up to California voters to decide whether to tighten regulations on campaign advertisement under a new bill by Rep. Julia Brownley that passed the Assembly on Monday.
Titled the California Disclose Act, it would require radio, TV and video ads not authorized by candidates to identify the spots' top three funders, and political mailers would have to include the corporate logos of the top three funders of the group producing the ad.
The Santa Monica Assemblywoman's legislation would also require slate mailers to disclose if a candidate or ballot measure paid to be included in the advertisement. Additionally, it requires ads to list a website for voters to get more information about the top financial backers of the ads.
The bill heads to the Senate. If signed by the governor, it would require voter approval in the November 2014 election.
"We must stop allowing special interests to hide their political spending. This measure will cast a bright light on their activities," Brownley, who represents Santa Monica, Malibu, Agoura Hills and Calabasas, said in a statement.
A similar bill by Brownley, Assembly Bill 1148, failed to win a supermajority vote in the Assembly in February. The new bill requires voter approval and thus can be passed in the Legislature on a simple majority vote, rather than the more difficult two-thirds vote.
Some Republicans and the California Chamber of Commerce reportedly criticized the bill as a violation of the First Amendment.
It "would inhibit protected free speech in the political process by making significant and onerous changes to required disclosures on campaign advertisements and slate mailers," the chamber wrote in a mailer to Assembly members earlier this year.
Supported by the California Clean Money Campaign, it would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974.
It "would fight back against unlimited hidden spending on campaigns by letting voters know who really is paying for political ads—on the ads themselves," according to cacleanmoney.org.
Among the bill's other requirements, it would mandate candidates appear and say they "approve this message."